Thursday, April 15, 2010
Even vegans can enjoy "cheesy" pizza
When I was a kid my mom would make English muffin pizzas for lunches every so often. They are delicious and oh so simple. I have started eating them A LOT recently. I started eating a mostly vegan diet in January of this year and honestly it was easy but I did miss pizza and other melty cheesy things.
I heard Sara Gilbert, yes the actress from Rosanne, talk about vegan cheese that melt, through her twitter account. She recommended Follow Your Heart cheese alternative. I believe it is also lactose free (don't know why it wouldn't be but it doesn't actually say lactose free anywhere) so even if you aren't vegan and you avoid cheese because of lactose sensitivity you can still eat pizza!
I went to the health food store I do all my primary shopping at and what do you know they carry it. With my block of mozzarella cheese alternative I headed to the pasta aisle and grabbed a jar of organic Italian herb pasta sauce. Next I headed to the bread corner and looked through the rows of different English muffins they had. I settled on a pack of flourless organic 7 sprouted grain English muffins.
They sounded pretty healthy (I have no idea if they are actually any healthier than generic white English muffins). I'm not a fan of wheat breads so I was a bit concerned about how they would taste but I just went for it, I wasn't even sure if the cheese was going to be any good. I thought maybe it is something you have to learn to love because let's be honest there are some vegan foods that are DISGUSTING, but that can be said about any kind of food can't it.
At home I set out to make myself some vegan English muffin pizzas. Here is my step by step guide for making English muffin pizzas, not because I think you can't figure it out yourself but because I wanted to share my new favorite meal, with pictures too!
I use a toaster oven to make my pizzas.
Set opened English muffins on a toaster oven tray, if you like you can toast your English Muffins first so they are a bit crispy. I like mine soft so I do not toast them.
I am not a big fan of pasta sauce but I use a generous amount on my English muffin pizzas, it soaks into the muffins and makes them tasty and very moist.
Next add as much as you like of the shredded mozzarella cheese alternative.
Bake at 450 F. It usually takes about 10 minutes with no preheat of the oven. I like my cheese a bit browned, it doesn't brown as well as dairy cheese so be careful if you're like me and you like practically the whole top to be brown, you will probably burn your muffins before the cheese gets like that. When they are visually just about done I turn the toaster oven to broil and broil them for a minute or two.
Let them sit for a few minutes, transfer to a plate and let them sit a few minutes more, trust me, I was eating these things every other day for almost a week straight and I burnt the roof of my mouth so bad it hurt to drink lukewarm tea. Let them sit and cool. The combination of the heated muffin and sauce sealed in by cheese makes for one hot pizza. Now enjoy your pizzas that are still hot but not too hot that you can't eat anything remotely warm for a week.
I have also used Follow Your Heart's cheddar cheese alternative to make cheesy beans for dip, burritos, and things. The first time I tried their cheddar I shredded it and added it to a bowl of hot chili and stirred it around and expected it to melt like dairy cheese. It did not and the chili I made was not very good either.
Their cheeses need to be melted before using in a separate dish or, like in the pizzas, while heating/cooking your food. It took a bit before I tried their cheddar again and while I do not like it as much as their mozzarella it is still a great vegan/lactose free alternative. I usually cook myself some beans and heat an open faced tortilla with beans and cheese on top like the pizzas, a Mexican pizza I guess. If I am reheating beans or making cheesy beans to be used in another way I heat them together in a pot on the stove or a dish in the oven. You can also heat just the cheese on the stove or in the microwave to a liquid to be used in/on whatever.
*Silly disclosure thingy* I did not receive anything for free or in exchange for anything said in this post or any post for that matter. These are all my own opinions influenced by nothing, no one, or anything but me, myself, and I. If I ever do receive anything from anyone you will be the first to know, trust me.